Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI, Howard Wise/JPI (2), ABC screenshot
15. Days of Our Lives’ Laura
“Mm-mm. No. Uh-uh,” we huffed at our TVs when Jaime Lyn Bauer was killed off. “That is not the way you treat a legacy character.” But our TVs didn’t care what we thought, so the beloved heroine once played by Susan Flannery (later The Bold and the Beautiful matriarch Stephanie) wound up dead on the floor of Gwen’s hotel room after taking a blow to the head that was a blow to our hearts. On the plus side, at least it was dramatic.
14. The Bold and the Beautiful’s Zoe
After months of buildup, we got an epic letdown in the summer of 2021. Kiara Barnes’ model not only missed the big reveal that her fiancé had slept with her BFF, when she was finally informed of the betrayal by her sister, she confronted… no one… and simply slunk out of Los Angeles like she’d been only a fraction as invested in the storyline as viewers had been.
13. The Young and the Restless’ Theo
This one, we’ll never understand. The show introduced Tyler Johnson’s character as a hard-to-like jerk, slowly got us to warm to him, did backflips to add a branch for him to the Abbott family’s tree… then sawed it right off with less fanfare than would accompany the delivery of a coffee order at Crimson Lights. Theo — and we — deserved better.
12. Guiding Light’s Roger
When Michael Zaslow was diagnosed with ALS in real life, the CBS soap… Well, it did pretty much everything wrong. First, it recast the beloved Emmy winner, then it rushed Roger into a marriage with Amanda, shipped them out of town and revealed the news of his off-screen passing… via outta-nowhere son Sebastian (played by tabloid mainstay Doug Hutchinson). Ugh on top of ugh.
11-10. The Bold and the Beautiful’s Maya and Rick
When Karla Mosley’s transgender model returned from abroad without her husband, we assumed that we’d find out why they split. We assumed wrong. To this day, the show has never explained why Jacob Young’s Rick remained in Paris. And though Maya theoretically is still in L.A., she never even gets invited to the Forresters’ living-room weddings anymore.
9. Santa Barbara’s Jade
Dare we assume that they lived happily ever after? When the NBC soap decided to drop from its initial cast the future Melissa Reeves (later Jennifer, Days of Our Lives), it didn’t make a big fuss about it. Or even a little fuss. Or even expect the audience to notice, really. Her bubbleheaded alter ego was simply sent out on a date from which she never returned.
8. General Hospital’s Drew
Viewers later learned that Billy Miller’s character had been “killed” in a plane crash, but that did nothing to diminish the “WTH?!?”-ness of the way that the Emmy winner actually left the show in 2019. And how was that? Intent on returning Shiloh’s ill-gotten gains to the people of Afghanistan, Drew got on an elevator at the hospital and… Yeah, and… nothing. That was it!
7-6. Young & Restless’ Summer and Kyle
Having somehow failed to keep Emmy winner Hunter King and Michael Mealor on the roster, the show gave the popular pair that they played the quickest of quickie reunions in the summer of 2021, then added insult to injury by having the supercouple retie the knot — off screen. All viewers could say to that was “I do… not believe this [bleep].”
5. General Hospital’s Peter
During February sweeps in 2022, we were psyched, as the ABC soap had set up half of Port Charles as suspects in what promised to be the best murder mystery since “Who Killed Susan Moore?” But instead of actually murder the villain that Wes Ramsey had played for just over four years, the show mystified viewers by simply having Felicia whack him upside the head to protect daughter Maxie. Zzz.
4. Days of Our Lives’ Don
As bad as the adios No. 15 got was, Jed Allan’s popular character was treated even worse. When the soap axed the fan favorite to focus on PYTs, the powers that be sent Don out to mail his taxes. Where that post office was, we can’t imagine, because Marlena’s first husband (that we knew of) never was seen nor heard from again!
3. The Young and the Restless’ Paul
If there’s one thing worse than a lame exit, it’s no exit at all — and that’s exactly what Doug Davidson’s legacy character got. When the Emmy winner was taken off contract in 2018, Paul began appearing less and less until he altogether disappeared. He’s still in Genoa City, still married to Christine, still chief of police… He just never comes knockin’ on anyone’s door anymore!
2. Days of Our Lives’ Hope
Since Kristian Alfonso quit in 2020 before any kind of sendoff, much less a proper one, could be written for her iconic character, our last moments with Hope were spent watching her clutch a photo of “late” daughter Ciara while wearing an expression that, beneath the pain, we took to be saying, “Best of luck explaining my absence when Victoria Konefal comes back!”
1. All My Children’s Bobby
If you don’t remember the Martins’ youngest son, we don’t blame you. Though he was a full-fledged member of the family when ABC premiered the soap in 1970, he only appeared in a few episodes. Then what? “I went off to camp, or I went up to get my skis and never came back,” portrayer Michael Bersell told the Orlando Sentinel in 2011. “But I went up the stairs, nonetheless, and never came back down.”